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tv   America Tonight  Al Jazeera  November 17, 2014 1:30am-2:01am EST

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after the series launched an initiative led by vice president joe biden. tonight we head back to campus to see the process made. the party is just getting started. we saw it last year. >> everyone is having so much fun. everyone is so drunk. plenty of booze. and no inhibitions. we bring them home, wake up the next morning, and bring them back to breakfast and move on with the day. >> not everyone is out to party. this is rebecca - not her real name, a 20-year-old ku sophomore
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whose world changed last fall when a guy she met on campus raped her. >> we met a few weeks into fall. we significantly had a connection. it was on another party night. she remembers walking home was a struggle, embarrassing, he handed her one red solo cup after another. >> at the party we had at least eight beers. and then i had a vodka cock da -- tail. >> as it often does, alcohol campus. >> i remember waking up. he was kissing me, before i knew it he was trying to have sex with me. i was trying to push him off. i was so week because of how
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intoxicated i was, it wasn't effective. i told him no, and to stop, and i couldn't do this. >> the justice department estimates one in five women will be sexually assaulted in college. most don't have the courage to do what reb ebbinga did -- rebecca did, tell the cops. she never saw the police report, but in it. the attacker admits having text with her. the university found the boy responsible for assault. he was expelled from his dorm, but not kicked out of school. >> i think at a minimum, they should have suspended im. >> the family said his
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punishment for rape was no more than a slap on the wrist. >> it's not that there was alcohol and a sexual assault. there was a confession to the sexual assault. that's staggering. >> a review of sex crime cases at hundreds of schools across the nation found victimises rarely face expulsion. even when the university rules they are culpable in a sex assault, as a sex attacker was. >> a local da declined an interview with "america tonight". but told rebecca's family there wasn't evidence to press charges. floored, the family sought out another avenue for justice. >> we began to thing of something needing to be down. they found it in the "america tonight" series, sex crimes on campus. we had seen "america tonight"s
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expose in america, about the title nine case and the young woman going forward and confronting their universities. it was interesting when we watched the expose, it was about 10 days after this occurred. title 9 of the still rights act mandated that schools that get money protect their students from sexual assault. did you know that title 9 was something that could be applied, that universities could be held responsible under title 9 before it happened to you. >> i had never heard of title 9 before. i was one of those people that thought it's never going to happen to me. >> but it did. the education department found rebecca's title 9 complaint credible and is investigating the university of can assist. sass -- kansas. >> the number of title 9 complaints filed tripled. 86 colleges and universities are under investigation.
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and for the first time, the u.s. education department is publicly identifying the list of schools which are under investigation. >> it's up to all of us to put an end to sexual assault. as the obama administration urges more talk about sex crimes on campus. >> if she doesn't consent or can't. it's rape. >> in the month since the series, the white house launched a major initiative. >> this is on all of us. every one of us to fight campus sexual assault. >> two states took a direct approach. under california's yes means yes law, students must get what is called affirmative concept, a clear yes, before having sex. new york followed suit for universities. >> the sexual assault thing is an epidemic and survivors are finding ways to make themselves heard. they say they will not be shamed into silence. >> all three
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of my rapists are on campus. >> columbia's campus is making an effort to hold universities to account. students charm columbia failed to protect them, and dragged mattresses across campus, a symbol of the weight they carry as survivors of campus sex assault. columbia junior says she has been assaulted twice, it's not easy for her to tell her story or to forget the pain. >> what i need to heel, which is more time. >> what to do when your school allows your rapist to be an campus. it's hard to heel. heal. it's hard to move forward. so i would say time. >> time and a commitment to making a difference.
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safe. >> some students do not realise that someone they know might be a rapist. the rallies and movements that we are starting are the beginning. it's part of a bigger conversation on sexual assault across campuses. >> over the last two years more women have come forward seeking justice. sex assault reports are up 61%, at 25 of america's top universities. the da in rebecca's case is reconsidering a decision not o prosecute. the university would not discuss her case, but the title 9 administrator says the school is thing. >> we sit down with each survivor and victim did talk about what they think the appropriate discipline or consequence is in each case. >> but reb ebbinga says it
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didn't -- rebecca says it didn't happen, her attacker was sanctioned without her input. she feels betrayed and fears other students may be at risk. do you think a lot of girls will go out on the home come weekend thinking they'll go somewhere, partying and it will be okay. >> yes, absolutely. rapes are not always in back allies, it happens in the presence of people you love and trust. which i don't think the general public realises next in our special report - the accused. >> i was confused. she looked at me and said "well, it was nothing." i freaked out. i'm sorry, and it was just a - she said a misunderstanding. >> but it was enough to destroy his college dream. "america tonight"s christof putzel on his side of the
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>> an american tonight investigative report >> i want the schools to
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want me >> no matter what... i'm still equal... >> what if you had a brilliant mind? >> i want to get into a competitive school... >> but life has been a struggle... >> black and latino kids... they feel shut out of these schools and shut out of the opportunities that they offer >> and you only have a solitary chance to turn your world around >> the way to get entrance is through taking one single exam... >> testing under fire an america tonight investigative report only on al jazeera america we continue our look at sex crimes on campus, with a growing backlash of universities deal with it, coming from accused in men. as often happens, there frequently is another side to the story. schools that have taken a harsher line find many accused fighting back. "america tonight"s christof
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putzel on how a false accusation can drive a young man's future. >> for alison, it began with a phone call about her sop. >> the phone call. there's always a phone call you never expect to get. it was a voice that wasn't josh . why? >> no, i had no idea. back. >> reporter: the campus at the university is where josh strange's college dream school turned into a nightmare. a former eagle scout josh dreamt of attending auburn university since the age of 12. he pledged a fraternity and dated a woman he met through friends. after a month of dating they changed facebook status to in a relationship. they have been sleeping together. after a month they went to his apartment after a night of heavily drinking. things went wrong.
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>> one of those things that had to happen. i go to sleep. later my girlfriend woke up, she initiated and everything, we started to have sex, and all of a sudden, about midway through, she just losses it. >> reporter: josh's girlfriend called the police, who detained him for questioning. she said josh forced himself on her. he said she initiated the sex. his accuser did not press charges, in fact, she returned to josh's apartment to apologise for the misunderstanding. why did you stay together after this accusation? >> at this point i didn't really know there was an accusation. >> reporter: the couple dated and slept together for another six weeks, until the relationship started to fall apart. a month after communication was cut off, josh was arrested at his house. >> she claimed i showed up in a parking lot of a frozen yoghurt place and slapped her in the face with a set of keys. >> reporter: josh denies the
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charge and says witnesses where with him 15 miles away in a parking lot. this time charges were pressed for misdemeanour federal assault and sodomy for the earlier incident. it did not take long for rumours to spread. >> the rumour mill was spreading. i was standing in line. i don't eaves drop but heard this "did you hear about this josh strange guys, he raped a girl." at that point i went home. >> reporter: on november 7th a hearing was heard to determine josh's future. there was no judge, just a jury of two students, a staff member from the college of liberal arts and a fisheries professor. josh and his lawyers were speak. >> reporter: a university librarian presided. a tape-recording revealed while
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she found the accuser credible and josh a threat to the accuser's safety, she had never heard the accuser's version of the event. >> reporter: there was no cross-examination, and josh chose to remain silent the entire hearing. after 99 minutes, the discipline committee recommended josh be expelled from auburn university. >> what was your reaction to auburn's recommendation. >> i thought i would be sick. josh was as white as a piece of notebook paper. i walked up and looked. josh said "mum, i'm gone. they don't want me here any more, i can't stay. they've expelled me." since "america tonight" aired the sex crimes on campus series, there has been a backlash against schools for
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their handling of sexuality assaults, men that have been disciplined or expelled have filed against some schools. in a new twist, some claim the schools discriminated against them. 20 lawyers wrote a letter to the u.s. senate saying the implementation of title 9 created an unfair experience. >> it's like a star chamber. it's not how you resolve a problem, as severe as sexual assault. that sting cities on the boys' records the rest of their lives. >> eric is a lawyer who defended multiple college students accused of sexual assault. >> reporter: do you feel that colleges are equipped to handle cases of sexual assault. >> these are felonies, serious crimes. i don't think that studentar
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faculty are educated on how to handle something so complex. if a sexual assault has occurred, that person should go to prison. >> a few months later, josh was killed of all charges. a grand jury refused to indict him. when the simple assault case went to trial, the accuser didn't show up. the case was dropped. josh was expelled from auburn university. he was given this from the office of the president. he has a criminal no trespass order against him. he cannot set foot on auburn university property. life. >> the university denied our request for an interview, but provided the statement:
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it is true that u.s. colleges are required by federal law, title fine of the civil rights act. to investigate claims of federal assault or lose funding. campus hearings like josh's caused concerns. and yes means yes laws have fanned it. >> there has been a change in the way sexual assault is addressed on campuses. there's a presumption of guilt against the boy accused of sexual assault. they don't get the due process rights that many americans expect to have occurred. >> despite the fact a grand jury found there was no evidence to indict you, auburn university chose to expel you. >> right. >> why? >> the explanation that we have come up with is just title 9 compliance. they had to have something to say that they are complying with a federal mandate to keep the funding that they get. writing...
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>> josh and his mother founded an advocacy group called face, families advocating for campus economy. joining with other mothers of sons accused of sexual assault, calling for the criminal justice universities. >> how in the world, without evidence, can someone's life be basically ruined. how is that possible on their word. ? as schools wrestle with how to handle sexual assault advocates are pushing for an aggressive affront. alison and her son wish to remind that there is another side to the story next on "america tonight", she said she was raped and was punished for it. >> i would see him going to my class. i would have to wait unsupervised. lori jane gliha found many young victims don't report. and
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often neither do their schools. >> hundreds of days in detention. >> al jazeera rejects all the charges and demands immediate release. >> thousands calling for their freedom. >> it's a clear violation of their human rights. >> we have strongly urged the government to release those journalists. >> journalism is not a crime.
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well, the national conversation about sex crimes reached fever pitch. "america tonight" found another wave of sex assaults is flying under the radar on high school campus, even at middle school. the majority of victims do not report their rapes, and neither have many of their schools. lori jane gliha's story with a young woman who did report and the shocking response. >> reporter: rachel carries her rubik's cube everywhere she goes, it's kind of a security blanket. rachel has been doing this for four years, ever since one afternoon when she was 17, a high school senior, a member of the marching band in the small town of henderson texas. inside that building is where you were raped. >> right.
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>> reporter: another student, a football player and fellow band member lured her into the band her. >> it was strictly forced. the entire type of immediately after i was raped i went to the bathroom and was scared. >> reporter: rachel's mum said the high school was unprepared and made mistakes from the moment the assault was reported. >> she went to the band teacher on the day it happened. there was semen on her shirt and told them "i have been raped", he said "go confront your attacker." >> reporter: it wasn't until rachel reported the rape to another teacher that school administrators turned the case over to police, two days third. they concluded that the sexual encounter was consensual. the minute someone suggested you
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had reaction? >> i was pissed. i was shocked. i knew it wasn't consensual. i knew he forced me. this is not something you wanted to do, this is something you tried to stop. it was hard. >> in public high schools for the 2009, 2010 school year, the latest year that figurers available, there were 4,200 reported incidents of sexual assault, including 600 reported rapes or accepted rapes on high school grounds. because assaults are underromped - under-reported, it doesn't really tell the story. >> i think at this point secondary schools are probably campuseses. >> colby is with the victims' right law center, and said the heightened focus on college has overlooked what is happening in high schools across america. >> what is forgotten is the
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younger students on campus, at secondary schools, and that is problematic. because you are talking about a victims, the rest of a victim's life, from society we get a sense of disbelief that it can happen to a 12 or 13-year-old. wow, that can't be true. each of the administrators and teachers see what is going on in their schools. and they are turning a blind eye. they are not doing enough about it when it happens, and it escalates. >> there wasn't enough evidence to prove rape. evidence. >> there was laceration and notes that i was, you know, bleeding in certain spots. i still don't under why they didn't want to pursue it,
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investigate it, why they didn't try. >> henderson high school administrators did not conduct their own investigation, taking their lead from the police that the sex was consensual. and then in a move that shocked rachel and her family the school decided to punish her for public ludeness and forced her to attend an alternative school, along with her school attacker. would you say she was punished for reporting an assault? >> yes. >> i would see him having to go to my class, waiting unsupervised, that was the difficult part of the day. rachel says the boy bragged about what happened, but she was teased by other kids. >> i felt like i wanted to punch the people in there. i felt i wanted to physically attack them. >> rachel's mother tried to transfer her. she was told any transfer would be blocked because rachel was being disciplined. >> it's the
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most horrible thing you can tell a mother saying "i'm sorry, you have to go to school." >> reporter: colleen went to a.c.l.u. for help. this attorney took on the case. she told her what henderson high school was doing was illegal. >> no student can have an opportunity to learn if they do not feel sale. >> reporter: title 9 requires that schools conduct investigation, regardless of police involvement, and schools must protect, not punish or retaliate against students. the figure is investigating 23 public school district for mishandling cases like rachel's. >> rachel's case is common in terms of a total misunderstanding and mishandling of a sexual assault report. it's astonishing that they took
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the step of punishing her after the report. >> reporter: in june 2, '01 the office of civil rights -- june 2012, the office of civil rights pushed henderson in a different direction, drawing of a plan to bring them into law, including sexual assault training for the strategy, wiping rachel's disciplinary record and paying for training session. they need to put schools and people in place so teachers and students know what to do. >> go to this person if you have a problem. this is what a problem looks like, what it means to have consent, and this is what rape and sexual assault look like. and so i think the amount of education that secondary schools have to do for their students, as well as their administrators have to increase tenfold. >> we ask administrators to talk
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on camera about why they handled rach else case the way they did. >> he declined. they said they revised procedures to comply with title nine. they were committed to provide a students. >> would you like an apology? >> no. genuine. >> what did you say to the school officials if you could sit with them now. >> i would really like them to change the policies through my assault, through the a.c.l.u. and the office of civil rights. >> reporter: it's been four years, but the assault left its mark on rachel, anxiety and anger that she is coping with in her own way. >> sometimes it takes me a second, this is a little difficult for me. >> nice. >> i feel better. >> today, rachel is moving on. she is married now, and
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preparing for her next challenge. she and her husband are expecting a baby girl. >> this christmas is going to be a very special one. we are excited to invite our first baby into the house. to prepare her to be someone, to love other people, to make her own decisions and it feels kind of like justice, maybe. >> she hopes telling her story will bring high school rape into the open, so other girls, even her own daughter will not have to face what she did we share that hope. we'll keep the focus on sex crimes on campus. join us as we report on what makes a difference in stopping it. that's "america tonight". thanks for joining
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